Every woman has something she isn’t crazy about when she looks in the mirror. Some rolls, a particular shape, something slackening over the years… No matter how liberated or empowered we are, we’re human, and there’s the tiniest bit of insecurity built into the human condition.
I read an advice column once that said if you weren’t happy with your body, think of it in terms of its function. Legs to carry you places, a heart to push blood through your veins, arms that can lift parcels and pots… And I thought that was terrible advice! Just terrible. When I look in the mirror and feel critical, if all I’ve got is function, then you aren’t comforting me a whole lot! I want beauty.
But then I got to thinking… and being the dramatic little thing that I am, I started thinking in terms of a story.
Let’s say that you go suddenly got incredibly ill and were about to die. Right now. A week before Christmas. This body that has been carrying you through life has succumbed to an infection, a heart condition, cancer, car accident–take your pick. And you are laying in that hospital bed considering your life and all the things you aren’t ready to let go of. For me, that would be my husband, my little boy, my parents… my career, even! I’d be thinking about my family having to move on without me, and the heartbreak that would follow them around this time of year for the rest of their lives.
But suddenly, you are offered a Christmas miracle–a second chance to continue your life in a different body. You don’t HAVE to say goodbye yet! You can keep living, keep loving, have another chance at life!
You’re offered several different selections, none of which are considered classically beautiful. These are regular bodies–like everyone else’s. One might be overweight. One might be prone to putting weight onto legs, or stomach. One might be gangly and skinny. One might have a large nose, and another might have an uneven skin tone. Take your pick, but you’re being offered a regular, human body. But this one is healthy!
What would you be thinking about when making your choice? I know what I would consider. I’d no longer be judging that body on a cryptic, unfair scale put out there by the media. I would be looking at function! I’d want strong legs to take me where I wanted to go–right out of that hospital bed and back home where I belonged. And I’d want arms to hold my family close once more, and energy to face all the beautiful things in life I still hadn’t gotten to yet. I’d want health to last me the years I had left, and I’d want to be able to bend, lift, cook, eat, and laugh once more.
And I’d be so deeply grateful for that functional body, that when I looked in the mirror, I wouldn’t see flaws or “problem areas.” I’d see the beautiful gift of life, and I’d love those rolls and jiggles, the shape of that body that could carry me through my years.
So if I would lovingly embrace “imperfection” if I were given a second chance at life, then why not on my first pass through with the body I’ve got? They say you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, but maybe I can skip the dramatic comeback, and appreciate it now for all it gives me.
Perfection was never offered anyway!